MIAMI (WSVN) - Five Miami Beach Police officers have been charged in a rough arrest that led them to be relieved of duty.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced charges against Sgt. Jose Perez, and officers Kevin Perez, Robert Sabater, Steven Serrano and David Rivas during a news conference on Monday.
“When we see this, it’s alarming, it’s disturbing. There’s so many adjectives that we could use to describe it,” she said.
Fernandez Rundle’s office also released surveillance and body camera video of the July 26 arrest inside the Royal Palm Hotel along the 1500 block of Collins Avenue.
“It was just unfathomable. It’s unspeakable. It’s just inexcusable,” said Fernandez Rundle.
All five officers have been charged with battery, a first-degree misdemeanor. Officials said other charges may follow.
“I’m disappointed that this is out there, and it depicts our department in the manner that it does when I know we are much better than that,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements.
Investigators said 24-year-old Dalonta Crudup was riding a scooter and trying to get away from officers after he was accused of hitting an officer with the vehicle.
Surveillance video captured the suspect as he ran inside the lobby of the Royal Palm Hotel and went into an elevator.
Seconds later, a police officer holding a gun followed him into the elevator.
The footage shows Crudup as he lay on the floor on his stomach and put his hands behind his back.
More than a dozen officers responded to the incident.
“It is at this point the situation begins to change,” said Fernandez Rundle.
The footage shows the officers surrounding Crudup. Officials said the suspect is accused of resisting.
The video shows one of the officers kicking Crudup in the head while he was handcuffed.
“That’s three times by Sgt. Perez,” said Fernandez Rundle.
As they took Crudup into custody, officers also arrested another man, 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn, who was recording the arrest.
Fernandez Rundle paused bodycam video showing Vaughn.
“We think the officer here is saying, ‘Back up,’ and you see him take about four steps back with his camera,” she said. “Now you see Officer Sabater running in and tackling him.”
Another body camera recorded an officer deivering blows to Vaughn.
“What you see there is a series of punches in the back rib cage area,” said Fernandez Rundle.
Attorney David Frankel represents Vaughn and his friend Sharif Cobb, who, he said, also recorded the incident and was arrested for obstruction.
“I think that they were trying to do the right thing, and they ran into a culture of police activity that we all wish just didn’t exist, but it does,” said Frankel.
Vaughn spoke with 7News after he bonded out of jail.
“[An officer] punched me, elbowed me in the face. I literally got jumped by officers,” he said.
The charges against Vaughn were later dropped.
Fernandez Rundle said she’s not the only official who was disturbed by the video.
“I watched [Chief Clements] watch that video, and he [slammed his hand] right down on the desk, so we’re all really horrified by it,” she said.
“This is by no means at all a reflection of the dedicated men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department,” said Clements. “Moving forward, I can tell you that my staff and I promise you, as individuals and as an agency, we will learn from this, and we will grow from this, and we will do better. This is not what you see from officers.”
Late Monday afternoon, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber issued a statement that reads in part, “The video is not who we are, which is why our department took decisive actions within hours of the incident.”
The officers are now off the job as officials investigate their use of force.
Officials said the officers all turned themselves in at the Miami Beach Police department, Monday morning.
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